Sunday 25 September 2016

Detective injured in post office robbery stopped at local store to wash blood from her face

Published 04/08/2016 | 17:59

Gardai protect the scene at Waterville Post Office in County Kerry following a raid by three men on Tuesday.
Photo: Don MacMonagle
Gardai protect the scene at Waterville Post Office in County Kerry following a raid by three men on Tuesday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

The ambulance carrying the female detective injured in the Kerry post office robbery stopped outside a local store to ask the owner if the detective could wash the blood from her face.

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"It was very shocking - she had a bandage covering most of her face and right down under her jaw," Beaufort shopkeeper, Nora Mai Kissane (86) said.

"I'd say she was very shook so we did everything we could to help her. It was terrible what happened."

Postmistress Lisa O'Reilly and a number of French tourists were shocked when armed raiders demanded cash at Waterville post office at 11.15am on Wednesday and then fled in a Ford car.

Gardai patrol farm land near Kilgobnet in County Kerry in search for a suspected raider on Thursday.
Photo: Don MacMonagle
Gardai patrol farm land near Kilgobnet in County Kerry in search for a suspected raider on Thursday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

The men later changed to a Mazda car but, thanks to local alerts and social media, they were spotted and their progress tracked.

The men rammed a Garda patrol car containing a male and female detective outside Kilgobnait and one garda had to fire several shots to defend themselves.

Both detectives suffered soft tissue injuries but were later discharged after being treated at Kerry University Hospital in Tralee.

Reversing at speed, the raiders fled and burned out their Mazda car after it crashed on the outskirts of the village.

They were later arrested after being found hiding in an isolated farm shed.

It has emerged that the two men in their 30s arrested by Gardaí following the armed raid are both from the Killarney area and have multiple previous convictions for robbery.

One also has associations with a feared rural crime gang.

Read more: Garda detectives hospitalised after car repeatedly rammed by suspected Post Office raiders

Gardai protect the scene near Kilgobnet, Beaufort where a gardai car was involved in a collission following a raid on Waterville Post Office in County Kerry on Tuesday.
Photo: Don MacMonagle
Gardai protect the scene near Kilgobnet, Beaufort where a gardai car was involved in a collission following a raid on Waterville Post Office in County Kerry on Tuesday. Photo: Don MacMonagle

The two detectives whose patrol car was rammed by the getaway vehicle of armed raiders in Kerry immediately recognised the two men.

A manhunt of the isolated Beaufort and Kilgobnait areas continued last night involving armed Gardaí and dog units.

More than 30 officers are involved including the armed Regional Support Units (RSU) from Cork and Limerick.

However, it is now thought that a suspected third raider either wasn't in the car when it crashed or had been dropped off on the outskirts of Waterville.

The period of detention for the two arrested men was extended last night and a decision will be made this evening about whether to charge the duo or further extend their time in custody.

Both are being questioned in Killarney and Tralee Garda Stations about the theft of €5,000 from Waterville post office.

Gardaí are still searching for the cash and the firearm used.

Chief Supt Cadogan paid tribute to community alert volunteers, text alert users, social media and local media for the critical role they played in supporting the Garda manhunt.

"Every single piece of information was vital and it played a critical role in helping us get to the scene so fast," he said.

"The local support we received was absolutely overwhelming and we are very grateful."

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